Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Sabertooth Unicorn


Ah, the Sabertooth Unicorn lads! Punkrockers with a sweet tooth for blues, country, ska even. You remember their fabeltastic EP from last year. And now, 8 new songs, a profane title, and one HELL of a great ballad. With a weepy saxophone. Gettin' all emo on us. Sigh.

Cat In The Christmas Tree

 It's such a nice idea that the closer you come to Christmas the more the 'usual suspects' herald themselves with their new Christmas music. Enter the Rotterdam based The Non Traditionals with their Bandcamp EP  'I Don't Carol'. They are  funny bunch and every year since 2009 they surprise us with very original Christmas tunes. Read here what we wrote about them last year. Their 2021 songs are great new semi acoustic pop songs with 'Cat In The Christmastree' as inexorable hightlight. Cat owners will immediatly recognise themselves in the song, with some nice Dutch accordeon sounds.


Sinterklaas versus Santa Claus

I am sure you are aware of the Dutch character Sinterklaas. In the Netherlands and the Flemish part of Belgium he is quite known as a big childrens friend. The, short, story is, that every year he arrives in november out of Spain with his big steamer full of presents for everybody. On the eve of his birthday (december 5) he walks with his white horse and his assistant on the roofs and puts all the presents in the chimeys. December 6 he leaves unnoticed back for Spain. The Sinterklaas (or Sint Nikolaas) celebration is a very old tradition in our countries. Dutch painter Jan Steen painted a lovely Sinterklaas scene in the 17th century. Nowadays still a lot af families do the celebration on december 5, called Pakjesavond (eve of the parcels).
The figure of Santa Claus is for a big part based on Sinterklaas. When the Dutch settlers arrived in America in the 17th century they took with them the tradition of Sinterklaas. Later the name Sinterklaas was anglicized into Santa Claus.There are a lot of Sinterklaas songs, bassicly all old nursery rhymes. Hardly any new songs are being made. So we thank The Mieters and Fulco for their new and very original Sinterklaas songs. 
Fulco sings about Sinterklaas knowing everything about him: so he must be a computer. The Mieters are a beat band from Zaandam, north of Amsterdam. They sing about Sinterklaas and his assistent Piet (Pete). They are afraid they will be forgotten and get no presents. The Mieters also like Christmas and made a couple of nice uptempo Christmas songs. We wrote about them last year, read here. 






Monday, November 29, 2021

Blackbird, Tim Dawn

Get ready for yet another new Christmas single from da lowlands: Christmas Getaway from Dutch singer Blackbird. Although she considers herself as a Christmas fanatic, this is her very first original Christmas tune.
It's about "spending time with your chosen family during the holidays, away from life's everyday routine" and it's "an ode to your best friend".
A cheerful, friendly and poppy xmas tune.
Insta over there.



Fellow Dutch artist Tim Dawn re-wrote an old song of his (Another Time) into a Christmas song, Christmas Time. In this song, he apologizes for not being around his wife all year, but this Christmas, he's gonna make it up to her (well, won't we all?).

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Christmas TV



On this blog we explore the newest Christmas songs, but we also dive in alternative Christmas pop history. Earlier on, we posted versions of alt xmas pop classics like Ron Sexsmith's Maybe This Christmas (HERE), Paul Kelly's Who's Gonna Make the Gravy (HERE), Low's Just Like Christmas (HERE) and RUN DMC's Christmas in Hollis (HERE).
Now, we take a look at 2008's Christmas TV by Sheffield duo Slow Club. It was a Christmas single, and appeared a year later on their seasonal EP Christmas, Thanks for Nothing. The song is a desperate cry for love, a broken heart wanting to set back time:
I like the way that our arguments stop when we fall asleep
And the way that your body feels when it's wrapped around me
And I'd like it if you made it to mine by Christmas Eve
So you can hold me
And we'll watch Christmas TV


Most versions stick to the sad, gentle original by Rebecca and Charles:

Here's a selection of cover versions, there are FAR more. Did I miss a really good one? Holler!














Really dig this version:




Don't be fooled by the credits, this is a cover by duo Filthy Rich Dirty Poor:


Acoustic Christmas

Joost Dijkema comes from the north of the Netherlands. After hearing Leo Kottke´s 1969 album ´6- & 12-string guitar’ and Michael Chapman’s ‘Time Past And Time Passing’ he was determined to develop the fingerstyle guitar technique. He was 'townmusician  of Groningen' for three years. He is specialised in acoustic guitar based songs. On his Bandcamp you can find this wonderful song  'An Arm Around Jack Frost' with lots of slide and acoustic guitars, and an intro full of Xmas bells.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Vista Blue vs John Waters

Nashville-based raaawk band Vista Blue (yep, these guys) made an EP with a selection of covers of slightly odd Christmas songs, as a tribute to a compilation filmmaker/style guru John Waters made back in 2004. It featured quite famous tracks by Akim (this one), Jimmy Donley (this one) and Fat Daddy.

So here's that Vista Blue version of the latter:


This is the original by Paul 'Fat Daddy' Johnson:

And that Fat Daddy track was covered by other bands, like:


Friday, November 26, 2021

Silent night with Leslie West (1945-2020)

 Last year, just before Christmas rock icon Leslie West died. He was guitarist in Mountain and played with them on the famous Woodstock festival in  1969. He also played in West, Bruce and Laing. To remember him Cleopatra Records  just released a 7 inch (on blue and red vinyl) with his instrumental version of 'Silent Night', recorded in 2015 . You can order it here. 


Merry Lockdown with De Baron

Last year already, De Baron released a track called 'Grijze Kerst' (Grey Christmas), which we overlooked unfortunately. To make up for that, it's on CAGG this year. And rightly so, because the kind of eclectic guerrilla-klezmer-brass-rap-rock they play lends itself perfectly to a fine and feel good Christmas tune.
Well... feel good... the subtitle 'Merry Lockdown', says it all. The theme of the pandemic still hasn't got any better in The Netherlands and therefor their track is still very topical this year.
In the corresponding video we see a kinda shabby Santa Claus wandering the streets of Utrecht (not entirely coincidentally also the place of origin of De Baron) in search of a party in these hard times. Whether he succeeds? Check it out on YouTube.
Insta over there.

Stippenlift

Stippenlift is a recurring favorite on this blog. His Dutch depriwave songs are a tragically comic bright star in these dark times. His new track is of that same high standard quality:

Santa make me handsome

Braden Blake and the Oh Wells made a Christmas EP that (sonically) reminds me of the bestest Fountains of Wayne moments. This track stands out (a little, cuz they're all good):

Thursday, November 25, 2021

WORLD PREMIERE: Ricky & Frank



EDIT: removed the soundcloud-link, the song is all over the streaming platforms now.

Tomorrow is the official release, but here's the scoop: the Ricky Koole & Frank Lammers Christmas duet (featuring Ocobar)!!! Dutch singer Ricky Koole is already a staple on this blog, see her earlier xmas tunes HERE and HERE. Frank Lammers is a celebrated actor, best known for his role als Ferry in Netflix series Undercover. Together, they channel their inner Dolly Parton & Porter Wagoner on this very upbeat seasonal song. Yeehaw-haw-haw!

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Christmas Pickle

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any information about the artist 'Up With Glue', other than that he's not the most prolific musician from New Hampshire ever, to put it mildly. His previous and first album dates back to 2018, but that doesn't make his Christmas album any less worthwhile.
No covers, but ten songs of his own, (semi) acoustic with mostly dry-humored lyrics and a high lo-fi feel. Little gems are 'I'm a Baby Jesus', 'Santa's Got a Bump' and the sweet (and sour) 'Christmas Pickle'.
Complete album HERE


Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Christmas at last

  •  Did we miss him last year? Normally you can always count on singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Ryan O'Neal. Under the moniker Sleeping  At Last he makes a christmas song every year. This year he will make two (maybe to make it up for 2020). The first one is out to now. Here it is a very spherical version of the 1951 song 'It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas' . For the other song we'll have to wait one week.


Merry Christmas Joey Ramone!


As you know, we luuuuuurve Ramones-themed Christmas songs. See HERE, and HERE. So when El Sancho released this beaut', we just HAD to post it. Gabba Gabba Ho Ho Ho!

Cocktails and Candy Canes

 In Holland candy canes are hardly part of the Christmas ambiance. But  Americans  believe in them. Geoff Palmer has  almost 25 years experience in various popyy punkbands like The Queers or The Guts. He also plays a lot with Kurt Baker. As a solo artist he just came up with his first Christmas tune 'Cocktails and Candy Canes', a loud and  poppy punk song with lots of Ramones influences. 


Sunday, November 21, 2021

The Coyotes on Christmas 2021 in 2020

We missed out on this one last year, the 2020 Christmas album of The Coyotes from New York.
A collection of successful (God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen) and less successful (Fairytale of New York ... ouch!) arrangements of well-known Christmas tracks and some own songs. But to make it topical: it also includes a song that is about this very year. A song that expresses the hope that Christmas will be like before covid again. Unfortunately, we don't know for sure for this year either.
Not for lo-fi haters. 

Complete album HERE.

Hippopotamus


'I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas too/If you get one I should get one too'. It's fair, and you know it. California's Aquabats ('five heroes, off to save the world!') are singing what many were thinking when listening to Gayla Peevey's weird Christmas classic. This song is on an EP that aims for the title of the most fun seasonal release of the year. Up tempo, happy, punk rock (-y), rockabilly, it's a feast!

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Broken up at Christmas

Hailing from blueberry country, Québec's Pierre Lapointe sings 'Six heures d'avion nous séparent' (A six-hour plane ride seperates us) together with Lebanese-British singer Mika as a delightful, slightly sixties-influenced duet. I say it must be those soul-influenced drums Pierre uses so often. The song is last year's fare, but like an artificial tree, it can last for a long time. It's a great anti-Christmas song: two former lovers, one in Montréal and one in Paris, are basically throwing intellectual shade at each other. When summer comes back around, they might actually talk about their bad break up, but for now, all talks are frozen.

A six-hour plane ride seperates us, Yet you're still way too close.

You get the idea. Now put it on your playlist!

Friday, November 19, 2021

Veluwsch Kerst Collektiev 2021

Ok, here we go again. This is the fourth year in a row for the Dutchies of Veluwsch Kerst Collektiev to release a complete Christmas album!

First single 'Vergulden Pil' is released today and will be followed on December 3rd by an entire album. Vergulden Pil is quiet a catchy track in the best raunchy punkpop tradition and lyrics about two hostile acolytes in a derailed church service. Not too much Christmas feeling in the music though, but an overload of joyful enthusiasm makes up for a lot. Let's wait for the album within two weeks.
Check at our site for previous years HERE. Insta account OVER THERE


Thursday, November 18, 2021

L.A. Exes



Jingalingelinge jingelingling! L.A. Exes from, you guessed it, Los Angeles, are a fourpiece powerpop outfit. Bubblegum pop with early Beatles-references and girl groups influeces. They made this HIGHLY infectious Xmas pop tune, that makes us want to ditch the gloves, scarves and coat and go surfin' until Auld Lang Syne.

ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS A ROCK SHOW

Ain't this the truth?!


This is from a compilation that I had not spotted earlier, with mostly covers (love Together Pangea's Father Christmas version).

Laura & Michael

Sweet li'l ditty from longtime friends Laura Cantrell and Michael Shelley, not (as I understand it) about Santa himself and the mrs, but a couple contemplating on past Christmasses and the current season. Short, fun rockabilly tune.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Daði Freyr's Something Magical

Daði Freyr of Iceland, the loveable and tall teal sweatshirt wearing nerd, has graced us with a yuletide party number, called Something Magical.



While 2020's song was warm and slow, 2021's edition is an upbeat party affair, as we've grown accustomed to from Daði Freyr. Last year's video, Every Moment Is Christmas With You (here below), is of course still around for your musical enjoyment.



Gleðileg jól!

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Norwegian Christmas with Boyzvoice

Just re-released, Let Me Be Your Father X-Mas, tweeted to me by famous Norwegian actor and director Espen Eckbo (!) of Get Ready to Be Boyzvoiced, a hilarious mockumentary about a boy band's ups and downs. The fun thing is, Boyzvoice became an actual act (not unlike the UK's Spinal Tap) and continue to perform and release music including - you guessed it - some Christmas music. Boyzvoice is well known for their dodgy lyrics and Let Me Be Your Father X-Mas is no exception, a song remixed by DJ Advento for Nissene i bingen (The Elves in the bin). On 1 December, Nissene i bingen and their Christmas spoofs will be featured on Discovery+ in Norway.

Do yourself a favour and also check out their fake spy song à la James Bond called Spy Me At Noon, with excellent questionable lyrics.

Friday, November 12, 2021

RIP Margo Guryan

Margo Guryan has left this planet. She was 84 years old. This is just one of her marvellous songs:


This Xmas song was covered many times. Bestest version:

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Christmas in Hell

Here's one of Québec's best musical jokers Mononc' Serge together with thrash metal Montrealers Anonymus hashing out the banger 'Les fêtes en enfer' (The holidays in hell) in 2016. Mononc' Serge's vocals is what goes through your head when you're visiting the part of the family you don't like and want to start running to see how far you can get in the thick Quebec snow in the dark only to realise it's f****** cold and there's nowhere to run, a bit like hell. Here's a rough cut for you to set the (nativity) scene:

Santa Claus is dead,
you won't get any presents!
Baby Jesus is crying
in his 'pram'.
The ox and grey donkey pissed on his head,
but nobody gives a f***
It's the holidays!

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Old skool Jamaican christmas

 This christmas rocksteady-reggae song from Clifton Smith and the Diamonds is 52 years (!) old and it still sounds great. The original Jamaican  45, on The Wasp Records, is now worth a fortune. But hey.... the single has been rereleased. You can get it on Reggae Fever, a nice Swiss website.

Tuesday, November 09, 2021

Blondie and Christmas

 In 1981 English magazine Flexipop came out with a great, blue colored, X-mas 7 inch  flexi disc. With three tracks from the bands The Brattles, Snuky Tate and Blondie. 'Yuletown Throw Down (Rapture)', a sort of X-mas version of 'Rapture', was the track Blondie made together with the at that time very hip grafitti artist Fab Five Freddy. 40 years later there finally is an official release of that flexi track: a very limited 12 inch with the original version and two new mixes.

I always thought this was Blondie's only Christmas song. Until recently I did discover that they also made one in 2009,  'We Three Kings' .


She & Him go christmas again

 American duo M.Ward and Zooey Deschanel released their now more or less famous album  'A Very She & Him Christmas' in 2011. Now, 10 years later, it seems there will be a limited 10th anniversary deluxe edition with a bonus 7 inch single. On the single their version of  'Last Christmas'  and a cover of Madonna's 'Holiday', which I do not consider to be very christmassy. But if they insist....... :-)

Monday, November 08, 2021

An Irishman for Christmas

Where I grew up in Cleveland
we celebrated Christmas with Chinese
but since I’ve been in Boston
I’ve wanted one of these
I want an Irishman for Christmas
straight from the Kerry hills


Hi Irish visitors of this blog (or people with a lust for Irishmen) this song's for you. It's one of the songs on a short compilation with rock-y Christmas songs, and this (sinful) ode to Mick's and Paddy's. Berk/Lehane = Jerry Lehane (of Dogmatics, Matweeds) and Simone Berk (Sugar Snow, Kid Gulliver). They met online through her hit “Queen of the Drive In” with WhistleStop Rock. He thought it was a great song, and started a conversation with Simone about songwriting. Next thing you know, they penned a "Jewish/Irish Christmas song" about a very special Christmas wish.
The song was released a year ago, but winds up on this 2021. I had not spotted it last year. Also very nice, is the rockabilly rendition of Angels We've Heard On High.

Saturday, November 06, 2021

Christmas in a caravan, Django-guitar style

Québec City's famous hot club jazz swingers The Lost Fingers are known for their Django-guitar style covers of 1980s pop songs and re-recording French pop hits with the original singers. For the record,'Ça plane pour moi' by Belgium's Plastic Bertrand was actually sung by Belgian singer and record producer Lou Deprijck, but that means The Lost Fingers jammed with Plastic Bertrand and that's many chords of cool.

Noël en caravane (Christmas in a Caravan) is about rocking out on the guitar, gitan-style and dancing until you forget where you are in one of those beautiful wooden caravans you see in movies. Who doesn't need a song like that in their Christmas playlist? I know I do!

Friday, November 05, 2021

Hiss Golden Dub



Christmas Underground already called it: Hiss Golden Messenger's 'O Come All Ye Faithful' is the bestest Christmas release of 2021. Bold statement, but I co-sign on this. Today, HGM released what could be the oddest Xmas release of this year: a dub-version of 'O Come All Ye Faithful'. The remixes are credited to 'The Revelators on South Robinson Street; that's M.C. Taylor/HGM himself plus Cameron Ralston. 'Grace', for me the highlight of the album, gets a gorgeous makeover. Oh, and vinyllovers: see THIS.

Thursday, November 04, 2021

Easter chocolate for Christmas

Fun-loving Montrealers Bleu Jeans Bleu has a pastel-clad Christmas song vintage 2016 called 'Coco de Pâques pour Noël' (Chocolate Easter egg for Christmas), the perfect stocking stuffer Christmas song. Frontman Mathieu 'Claude Cobra' Lafontaine sings using a slightly exaggerated, maybe even effeminate Québécois accent, which usually denotes not taking oneself's too seriously - a typical French Canadian trait if I do say so myself - and pleasant familiarity, all in good fun. 'Coco de Pâques pour Noël' features romance, bargain hunting, fashion, pastel watercolour and a small 'side burn' to syrupy French singer Patrice Bruel since his last name rhymes nicely with 'Noël'. You might know Bleu Jeans Bleu from their 2019 big hit, 'Coton ouaté' (Sweat shirt), which they even did as a duet with nobody other than Québec's biggest star of all time, Céline Dion, rocking the band's sweat shirt.

Wednesday, November 03, 2021

Corvair

WIAIWYA (stands for Where It's At Is Where You Are) is an indie label that brought us Christmas fans compilations like THIS ONE. There's a new one coming up, with 24 bands (hence the title). We're eager to hear the songs by Whoa Melodic, Piney Gir and The Martial Arts. But for now, we'll settle for this nostalgic ditty:

Tuesday, November 02, 2021

Spotify Playlist 2021

Yes, we manage a Spotify playlist with all the new, original(-ish) Christmas songs of this year. Find and like HERE

The Shacks



The Snowflakes Singles Club, if you're a regular visitor of this (and other Christmassy) blogs you've heard of this great vinyllover xmas fest. Three singles come out this year, by Xmasblogger faves The Boy Least Likely To, Swansea Sound and breezy duo The Shacks. Their original song Got to be Christmas is on Spotify now. It's as ethereal as other Shacks singles, this sounds like Les Baxter rose from the grave to produce an exotic, sunny delight.

Monday, November 01, 2021

2021!



AAAaaaaaaaaand we're back! November First is (usually) the day we re-open this blog for our favourite off-beat holiday music. It's the 15th season of Christmas a Go Go!; we had plans of celebrating this with special songs 'n all, but stuff got in the way alas. So we're just gonna celebrate the new season with good songs, and who knows what might pop up later.

Anyways, first song is by Willolux, a Canadian songstress with (as far as I know) her second seasonal song. That sounds VERY retro, very British torch song, A Girl Called Eddy, Tracy Ullman, Sandi Shaw.